New degree in cybersecurity

As recent revelations by whistleblowers, the government, and internet companies have demonstrated, privacy and security in the age of the world wide web are not what they used to be. Wash U’s Engineering and Business schools are teaming up to offer a new master’s degree in cybersecurity to prepare graduates in the strategies and tactics needed to protect critical information, prevent, and respond to cyber attacks.

Each year, about 431 million adults worldwide are victims of cybercrime, costing $388 billion based on time and monetary loss. The problem is so severe that President Barack Obama recently said, “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”

To address this growing need, the Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering & Applied Science, partnering with WUSTL’s Olin Business School, is launching a master’s degree in cyber security management in Fall 2013 to provide area professionals and full-time students with the skills needed to prepare for and stop cyber attacks in their workplace.

The master’s degree — the only one in St. Louis and one of only a few such graduate programs in the country — will be part of the Professional Education program administered by the Henry Edwin Sever Institute. Area executives who work as chief information security officers, chief technology officers and other Internet security experts will be the adjunct instructors for the courses, bringing real-world experience and insight to the classroom.

The program grew out of a need expressed by current students, alumni and information security executives at some of the St. Louis area’s largest employers who are looking to hire trained cyber security professionals who know how to protect critical information by preventing, detecting and responding to attacks.

“With the increasing use of the Internet, smartphones and tablet computers, we have become dependent on these technologies,” says Ralph Quatrano, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Spencer T. Olin Professor. “We all have responsibility to keep cyberspace secure. In the School of Engineering & Applied Science, that means we must educate and train an effective pipeline of future professionals in the field.”

“Protecting proprietary information, intellectual property and all the data that companies store and share via the Internet is of utmost importance to business leaders today,” says Mahendra Gupta, PhD, dean of Olin Business School and Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting & Management. “From coffee shop cash registers to global stock markets, consumers and businesses depend on safe networks for communication and commerce. It is imperative that business and engineering leaders continue to work together as we are doing with this new degree to stay on the cutting-edge of cyber security.”

The master’s degree requires 36 units of graduate-level credits with a curriculum that includes tactical, ethical and cultural issues from a managerial perspective. Students will take courses from Engineering as well as from the Olin Business School. They will also be assigned to a team at the beginning of the program and continue with that team until completion.

Candidates for the program must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.

An information session about this and other Professional Education programs will be held at 6 p.m. July 25 in Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall, Room 3015. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., and the information session begins at 6 p.m. RSVP at

News release by Beth Miller, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Photo credit: University of Maryland



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